Together we are increasing access to fresh, healthy produce
while supporting local farms and our farmers' markets!
What is Healthy Options?
The Healthy Options is a food voucher program that was being piloted in June 2011. In 2012, it enabled 40 families to purchase food from the Adams County Farm Fresh Markets. In 2015, the initiative had 74 participating families. Each family received $45/month in vouchers, during the months of June-September, to spend at the Farmer's Market.
Who is eligible?
Families that wish to take part must:
- Have an income that is between 160%-250% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (2015 FPIG), meaning they do not qualify for SNAP;
- AND be referred to the project through community agencies such as the Circles Initiative, the LIU Migrant Education Program, SCCAP Food Pantries, Meals and More, WellSpan, Head Start, Family First Health Center, The Adams County Office for Aging, or community churches.
This project aims to:
- Provide families who are not eligible for food assistance programs with the increased ability to purchase healthy, fresh foods;
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption;
- Support local farms and our local economy; and
- Provide nutrition education and support.
What are the expectations of the participants?
Healthy Options participants will:
- Be placed into a group with a Community Leader, who will serve as the main point of contact for information regarding voucher distribution and activities, as well as any questions or concerns participants may have.
- Use his or her vouchers at the Adams County Farm Fresh Markets between June 2015-September 2015 (market schedule).
- Attend at least one of the activities offered through the program during the summer months
- Inform the Healthy Options organizers if he/she moves or decides to not continue participating, so that the benefit may be shared with another household.
Research and successes
Spending trends at the Adams County Farm Fresh Markets in 2014 have been congruent with those of 2013 and 2012, in that among debit users, SNAP users and Healthy Options participants, more money is spent on fruits and vegetables by Healthy Options participants and SNAP users than debit users.
In 2014, $11,738 was spent in Healthy Options vouchers alone, and 90.6% of all available vouchers were redeemed at market. That is a massive success.
After the 2012 season, Gettysburg College student, Emily Constantian '13, created a video-research project for her senior thesis, examining the Healthy Options initiative and the impact it has had on participants. The video also focuses on the 'Photovoice' project, in which participants use photography to chronicle their experiences and relationships with food. Check it out here!
Gettysburg College Professor Amy Dailey assisted the Food Policy Council to assess the impact of Healthy Options. "Healthy Options: A Community-Based Program to Address Food Insecurity" has been published in the 2015 Journal for Intervention and Prevention in the Community to highlight excellent campus-community food projects that positively impact racial disparities and health.
Gettysburg College student, Lisa Martin '12, with the guidance of Professor Amy Dailey, evaluated the 2011 pilot project. Participants raved that the produce was “fresh,” “really good,” and one participant claimed that while her family has tried eating healthier before, “it worked this time around.” Vendors at the farmers markets unanimously and enthusiastically encouraged the continuation of Healthy Options. Read the research.
How is Healthy Options funded?
This initiative is funded through community support!
Local farms have generously donated Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares re-sale, including Common Grounds Farm, Everblossom Farm, Beech Springs Farm and Sherlock's Farm, Broad Valley Orchard, and Tuckey's Mountain Grown Berries, Fruits and Vegetables.
Additional support has been through fundraising campaigns with the Campus Kitchens and collaborative efforts from: The Adams County Food Policy Council, Healthy Adams County, The Adams County Farmers Market Association, The Gettysburg Hospital Foundation, The Adams County Circles Initiative, The Gettysburg College Chapel, The St. James Mission Foundation, The Center for Public Service , as well as many more individual donations.
Thank you all!!